Would You Buy You?

By Paul Turner

Readers' Warning: Please Read This Article With Caution

The result may lead to altering your method of operation to allow greater success in your entertainment career!

Life is a series of selling yourself. Perhaps a more acceptable and more recognizable term would be making a "good impression."

Remember your first date or, better yet, do you remember how much time you spent in front of the mirror before that date? How about your first job interview (or even your most recent job interview!) Maybe a party you went to. Hopefully to most of these you made a good or positive impression!

Fortunately the same rule applies to packaging and marketing our musical skills and services, doesn't it? I said fortunately because once we are consciously aware of that, we can adjust to that principle because we have accepted it as a fact and dealt with it properly in other areas of our lives like the dates and job interviews of past experience.

The title of this article, "Would You Buy You?" presupposes that you are first able to find "you" as a musical entity. The answer to both of these would preferably be yes, but the harsh reality is the odds are often better of finding a needle in a haystack.

Too much competition? Not enough talent? Not enough business savvy? Not any good contacts in the industry? Need a better representation of your product? Need direction for image and/or stage production? Do you negotiate well? Other unanswered questions? Chances are if you read this far the answers to most of these will be a resounding "Definitely." That's great because you can find help fast and, yes, one of the places is in the Yellow Pages.

If you are serious about your musical career (and honest with yourself) now more than ever before, the basic rule is this: Package and promote your business OR find someone who can! (The third option is find a day gig and keep dreaming).

Consider three of the best known music industry's marketing examples among its thousands:

The Beatles may never have traveled far from Liverpool's Tavern Club had it not been for the business genius of Brian Epstein.

The British Invasion (itself a slick marketing slogan) also brought the Bad Boys of Rock 'n' Roll to the top of the heap through the efforts of Andrew Oldham in spite of their very mediocre talents. That's talent! Yes, the same Stones that rolled into Louisville's IMAX recently and are currently playing there.

More currently, a family band was brought to the attention of Diana Ross (no small feat in itself) and in turn to that of Barry Gordy Jr. of Motown and the rest is history, as Michael Jackson would say.

Where would these three acts be without the marketing? My guess is that Paul McCartney would be running a small art shop on Penny Lane. Mick Jagger would be hard pressed to get any satisfaction and Michael would definitely have to "Beat It."

Having a musical talent to play or sing (or both) and developing the skills to produce enjoyable music is a special attribute to be sure. That uniqueness is reinforced each time you get a compliment which by the way includes applause. Many times it's someone saying that they never could play an instrument or carry a tune, no matter how big the bucket!

More times than not, however, those who have melancholy tendencies that allow the sensitivity to produce beautiful strains of music are not endowed with the characteristics with which to market them.

In this age-old system of supply and demand, you may not be able to control the supply, but you can make a difference regarding the demand of you. Mozart composed beautiful (and commercially marketable) music but died broke. His music has enjoyed much success and acclaim, but he never did.

Now it may be your turn. Who hears and sees your musical talents? Just as importantly, how do they see and hear it? Are you set up to succeed or set up to be mediocre? And what can you do about it? Maybe your need is image. Maybe it's exposure. Or production. Services like promotion agencies, photography and recording studios package you and your craft properly (and even creatively!). Use their services to enhance your own. I can't recommend being an unknown self-made hero, especially when you do sound so good!

Don't buck the system. Use it. Then when you play the Louisville Gardens please send me a ticket. Thanks.